Families helping families cope with the prolonged stresses of COVID-19

Posted at 8:29 AM, Jul 19, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The National Alliance on Mental Illness is once again offering its family-to-family classes in person.

The organization had to put its in-person group support and family-to-family classes on hold last year as the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, taking everything virtual.

"The pandemic rewrote the book for us," said NAMI program and development coordinator Sherry Byrnes. "It took a few months for us to get our programs up and running online and the stress on families caring for a loved one was just extreme by then. If people knew our helpline, they were calling in and calling in and calling in."

NAMI's eight-week-long class is an intensive group session intended to help families navigate the challenges of dealing with a loved one who struggles with mental illness.

"This class is an eight-week class that empowers families — that helps them become the strongest and best advocates for their loved ones that they can while maintaining their mental health and wellbeing when someone in their family has a serious mental illness," Byrnes said.

It runs Mondays until September 13 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. and as with every program NAMI offers, it is free of charge and no insurance information is needed.

You do, however, need to register for the family-to-family class by no later than noon Monday.

The National Alliance for Mental Illness is hosting an eight-week family-to-family class.

NAMI also offers guided group sessions that do not require registration to attend.

You can contact NAMI Buffalo & Erie County here or call NAMI's non-emergency Buffalo office helpline at (716) 226-6264 to learn more.

Important Phone Numbers
If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, the following resources are available 24/7:
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
  • Crisis Services (local) 716-834-3131
  • Trans Lifeline 1-877-565-8860
  • Trans Lifeline Canada 1-877-330-6366